Angie Stone | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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After her stunning 1999 debut, Black Diamond (Arista), it was hard not to be a little disappointed by Angie Stone's follow-up, Mahogany Soul (J, 2001). As a progenitor of the so-called neosoul movement, which combines classic soul tropes and instrumentation with hip-hop-style sampling and digital beats, Stone used her smoky, gospel-tinged voice to make new originals sound like lost gems from the early 70s. She still sounded good on the second album, but the songcraft was weak and the arrangements too often forsook the warmth of real instruments in favor of looped riffs. "Wish I Didn't Miss You" barely diverged from the sample of "Back Stabbers," the O'Jays gem it was built upon, and while the slinking "20 Dollars" did manage to find its own way melodically, the groove swiped from Al Green's "Simply Beautiful" never really meshed with the instrumental parts. Stone ought to get more out of these songs in concert; she may also preview some tunes from her forthcoming third album, Stone Love, due this summer. The great Van Hunt, T.H.C., and Duo Liv open. 18+. Sunday, May 9, 9 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn; 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212.

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